Friday, January 07, 2005

China's squatters

This 5-year-old article, published by UNESCO, reports that perhaps 1/4 of the residents of Shanghai, China's "city of opportunity," are squatters.

UNESCO Courier

A more recent article, from September 2004, highlights some of China's attempts to crack down on squatters:

Shenzhen Daily


Our Trinitone Blast said...

Hello Mr. Neuwirth, I was directed to your site because the last two DVDs I purchased were City of God and Bus 174, and they led me to do further research on Favelas. I am not a scholar of urban studies or anything, but do a lot of political and animal rights activism.

I searched the stores where I live (Minneapolis MN) and none of the local stores have Shadow Cities in stock, though they can order it. I also looked online and can order it there. My question is whether there is any way to purchase a copy directly from you? I would always rather give the author money directly out of appreciation for their work, so I've offered before and some authors appreciated it.

Also, if you have any other suggestions for movies or books concerning favelas, any suggestions you could post here on your blog would be much appreciated.

Thanks for your work for people that don't have a voice, looking forward to getting your book one way or the other.

Stacey Graham, Minneapolis

rn said...

Sorry I can't sell you the book directly, but rest assured I'm working on getting my publisher to distribute the book more effectively. In the meantime, perhaps you can have one of your bookstores order it. That might inspire Routledge to take a more active interest in distribution.

As for movies, you've mentioned the two most prominent regarding the favelas. I'd caution, however, that both are fictional representations of favela life. Cidade de Deus (City of God), for instance, is a city housing project, not a favela.

The drug gangs shown in the movie do exist in the favelas, and life in many of the more than 600 favelas in Rio can be dangerous and violent. But the mass of favela residents are not involved in crime. Indeed, favelas are not as dangerous as they're cracked up to be. I lived in a favela for three months and went in and out of many other favelas during my time in Rio, and I never had a problem. I had more run-ins with the cops than I did with the drug dealers.

I'd recommend a short film Walter Salles made a few years back. It's called O Primeiro Dia (The First Day) and was was shot in in favela Chapeu Mangueira, which overlooks the beach at Leme. You might also be interested in some of the music that's come out of the favelas. It's mostly rap and hip hop. MV Bill, who grew up in City of God, is one whose work I particularly like.

If I think of other items, I'll write about them on the blog.


Our Trinitone Blast said...

Thanks for your reply. I will get my local independent bookseller to order it for me.

I have been looking more today and discovering what you talk about. One of the favelas has a webpage that gives a much different picture of the everyday life than the media usually does. I have found lots of resources today also that reflect the positive sides of favelas. It's hard to get a real view of a culture when it is so far away and under-documented.

The whole thing fascinates me enough to be planning a possible trip to Rocinha favela possibly this summer, so thank you very much for your response.